Cisco hopes 30 new Intercloud partners will build more Cisco-based clouds

The race among cloud providers or would-be cloud providers for data center partners ratcheted up with Cisco’s news that it’s added 30 partners to its Intercloud confederation. Newbies include European telco giants BT and Deutsche Telekom along with datacenter powerhouse Equinix.

This means that Cisco Intercloud, based on OpenStack, can now run in 250 data centers in 50 countries, [company]Cisco[/company] said on Monday. The goal is to offer a connected set of partners that would, in theory, offer workload portability using any hypervisor to and from any cloud, according to a spokesman.

Cisco is not alone in wooing data center and telco partners to run its cloud technology worldwide — rival [company]Hewlett-Packard[/company] is also recruiting this type of partners all over to run its Helion OpenStack-based cloud and there could be overlap between HP and Cisco partner rosters. (Currently, HP’s Helion partner roster includes [company]AT&T[/company], [company]HKT [/company]and[company] Intel[/company].)

[company]VMware[/company] is also counting on service provider partners to run vCloud Air in their shops as well. All of these vendors need big partners to help give their technologies the same sort of scale that [company]Amazon[/company], [company]Microsoft[/company] and [company]Google[/company] clouds already have in the public cloud arena.

Many of these service providers — which include telcos and hosting companies — end up offering one or more options to customers. [company]CenturyLink[/company], for example, offers vCloud Air as well as its own cloud technology.

As part of this deal, Cisco said it will work with Deutsche Telekom to build German and European clouds to meet growing demands in those markets that local data stay in-country. Microsoft and Amazon Web Services, for example, will likely put new cloud data centers in Germany to address that huge market.

Cisco is basing Intercloud on Openstack but with hooks into Cisco gear via its own Application Centric Interface (ACI) which the Intercloud partners will also embrace.

Cisco CEO John Chambers

Cisco CEO John Chambers

The stakes are high. Cisco CEO John Chambers has said he expects Cisco to be one of very few legacy IT giants to emerge from what he called  a massive consolidation, and it looks like Intercloud is a key part of his game plan.

In any case, Cisco is making a play for cloud credibility but has to fight the perception that Cisco Intercloud is motivated more by the need to sell more Cisco gear than to build clouds per se. For example, Equinix and Cisco will build private hosted clouds using Equinix Cloud Exchange. But here’s the wording that caught my eye:

“Equinix also plans to deploy key Cisco technologies and services across its Cloud Exchange, including the Cisco Nexus 9000 Series switch, Cisco [Application Policy Infrastructure Controller]and the Cisco Evolved Services Platform.

To be fair, all the legacy IT players are hoping to load their clouds with their legacy baggage — but it seems more blatant in this case. HP execs at least gamely claim that Helion is hardware agnostic. Cisco makes no such pretense.

 Note: This story was updated at 5:17 a.m. September 30 with additional detail on HP Helion partnerships.

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